Miike isn’t kidding when he says his adaptation begins with one thing and gradually ends with another. “Audition” begins as a gritty romantic comedy, with widower Aoyama posing as a film producer to meet potential new partners. A sweet young winner emerges from the process, and it’s all fun and fun until a huge, human-sized bag starts writhing in her apartment. Aoyama’s phone call after the audition cuts through the eerie silence in the strange girl’s room where she is unnaturally bent over, apparently waiting for this call for days. The bag moving in the background is responsible for one of the biggest scares in horror movie history – number 11, according to Bravo’s The 100 Scariest Movie Moments. It reveals Asami’s unstable mental state, which comes to a head in the film’s horrific climax.
Without going into gruesome details, Asami is revealed to be an unstable woman whose traumatic childhood fomented a rather unhealthy connection between love and pain. In stark contrast to the restraint of the rest of the film’s 113-minute runtime, the final 20 minutes or so are a parade of violations through home, family, and flesh. The bravest of the brave can try to swallow a snippet of the footage here (there are spoilers here):
Fans and critics are divided in their interpretations of the Footless finale: Are the torturous sequences the result of Aoyama’s misogynistic nightmares, or is the story an uplifting tale of feminist revenge? Either way, it will keep you up at night.